Authentic Irish Lamb Stew Recipe

Irish Lamb Stew

The Spruce

Ratings (44)
  • Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins
  • Cook: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 12 servings (serves 12)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
911 Calories
52g Fat
37g Carbs
68g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

When you conjure up Ireland, you likely think of sloping thatched-roof houses with gardens in front and huge fireplaces inside where its owners take refuge from Ireland's frequent rain.

On the table by the fire you would often find true Irish stew, a regular meal of common people. It's always made with lamb, onions, and potatoes (of course), no questions asked. After that, variations abound. Most people add carrots, and it's not unusual to also find parsnips, peas, turnips, and/or celery.

In this recipe which appears in The Frugal Gourmet on Our Immigrant Ancestors by Jeff Smith, onions, carrots, and potatoes round out the hearty dish. Make this stew the day before because it is even better reheated.


  • 1/2 pound bacon (thickly sliced, diced)
  • 6 pounds lamb (boneless shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper (freshly ground)
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cloves garlic (peeled and finely chopped)
  • 1 large onion (yellow, peeled and finely chopped)
  • 4 cups stock (homemade or canned, beef)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 4 cups carrots (cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 2 large onions (yellow, peeled and sliced)
  • 3 pounds potatoes (peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces)
  • 1 teaspoon thyme (dried, whole)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cup white wine (dry)
  • Garnish: parsley (chopped)

Steps to Make It

Sauté the bacon in a large frying pan. Reserve the fat and the bacon.

Place the lamb, salt, pepper, and flour in a large mixing bowl. Toss to coat the meat evenly.

Reheat the frying pan. In batches, brown the lamb in the reserved bacon fat. If you run out of fat, use a little oil.

Transfer the browned meat to a 10-quart stovetop casserole, leaving about 1/4 cup of fat in the frying pan.

Add the garlic and 1 chopped yellow onion to the pan and sauté until the onion begins to color a bit.

Add the garlic-onion mixture to the casserole, along with the reserved bacon pieces, beef stock, and sugar.

Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, or until tender.

Add the carrots, the 2 sliced onions, potatoes, thyme, bay leaf, and wine to the pot and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Check for salt and pepper before serving and add if needed.

Top with the parsley garnish before serving.


Serve this Irish stew with Irish soda bread if you have time for a bit of extra cooking. If not, serve up hearty bread like sourdough or artisan for a harmonious texture with the stew.